NEW DELHI: After 17 months, six out of the seven accused in the rape and murder case of an eight-year-old Bakarwal girl in Kathua were held guilty on Monday by the district and sessions court in Pathankot.
District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh held 6 out 7 accused including mastermind Sanjhi Ram, special police officer Deepak Khajuria, Surender Verma, Tilak Raj, Parvesh Kumar and Anand Dutta. Only Sanjhi Ram's son Vishal has been acquitted.
The court accepted Vishal's plea of alibi that he was taking an exam in UP's Muzaffarnagar on the date of the incident.
The court held former revenue official Sanji Ram, Special Police Officers Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar, Parvesh Kumar guilty under section 302 (murder), section 376 D( gang rape) while Anand Dutta, Tilak Raj and Surender Verma are guilty under section 201 (destruction of evidence) under the Ranbir Penal Code.
According to the crime branch, Sanji Ram, the main accused, is alleged to have hatched the conspiracy along with the other accused, to kidnap the girl as part of a strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area.
The plea of the 8th accused is pending before the J&K High Court to determine whether he is a juvenile or not after the trial court ordered that he was a juvenile after the potency test.
The court will hear the quantum of the sentence at 2 pm today.
The eight-year-old nomadic girl, who was kidnapped on January 10 last year, was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death.
The day-to-day trial commenced in the first week of June last year at the district and sessions court in Pathankot in Punjab after the Supreme Court ordered that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir and concluded on June 3 with both the prosecution and defence counsels examining 114 witnesses in a year.
The case led to outrage across the country in January last year, with some groups in Jammu coming out in support of the accused.